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Monday Ennui

No sooner has the Tour de France started, there’s a break today so that the caravan can make the 900km journey from Denmark to Northern France. There’s still racing on TV and a few more things to chew over…

Plane trouble
Air transport delays are all the rage this summer and the Tour wasn’t immune. The journey to Northern France wasn’t without a hitch last night when one the aircraft booked for the transfer from Sønderborg to France had a “mechanical”, to borrow the cycling term. Passengers had to wait to be rebooked onto other flights in the evening. The riders got priority, reports L’Equipe, leaving ASO staff waiting late for their flight, a reversal that might not have happened several years ago before social media. It’s not new for a plane to have problems, in 1989 the Tour chartered two DC-10 aircraft for a transfer between Lille and Dinard and one of them broke down on the runway making the transfer very late for half the peloton.

Who’s the fastest?
Two sprints in and it’s early but there’s no hierarchy. Jakobsen looked the best on Stage 2 but lost his leadout train on Sunday where Dylan Groenewegen won. But Jasper Philipsen was very fast yesterday, although he was starting from too far back, so he can win one soon. Caleb Ewan can’t get a look in yet but isn’t done for just as long as he doesn’t feel he has to risk everything. Tomorrow’s stage can suit the fastmen but otherwise the next pure sprint stage is on the other side of the Alps.

Wout in Green
Wout van Aert might be in yellow but he’s here for the green jersey and while he’s frustrated with three consecutive second places, there’s comfort in seeing different sprinters winning. Remember the points scale is 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3 and 2 points for the first two, so rotating winners in the sprints help van Aert who is on 107 points to Jakobsen on 90. Jumbo-Visma have the yellow jersey but aren’t putting anyone on the front to defend it, leaving it to the sprint teams to pull from the start. Instead they did get together to set up the intermediate sprint.

Case open
There’s clearly tension between Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen on one level, but also a desire to put that Katowice crash behind them. However there is still ongoing litigation in Poland over the case so the issue just isn’t settled. Now this doesn’t mean the pair are going to be in court anytime soon, more that the case can’t be closed yet.

Patrick’s Hat-rick
One a more cheery note, Patrick Lefevere must be purring. Two stage wins plus the yellow jersey over the weekend means Quick-Step’s Tour is already a success.

The Magnus Show
Magnus Cort leads the mountains competition and can expect to hold the jersey until Friday and the Planche des Belles Filles summit finish, a first category climb with 10 points for the winner. There are climbs in between of course but someone would have to scoop up many of them to get ahead and that’s a big ask. To the point where some riders who might have fancied going in the breakaways to score a few points might think twice. Cort’s not done either, he can aim for stage wins this week too. A decade ago he was one of the most highly sought-after U23 riders who was beating the pros when he got a chance while riding for the Conti-level Cult Energy team and signed a three year deal with Greenedge. Moving up and he’s not been as prolific a winner but has kept delivering over the years.

Tak Danmark
The Danish start was the most northern grand départ ever but perhaps the warmest one ever, up there with Yorkshire in 2014. There don’t seem to be estimates of the crowd for the whole weekend yet but the number for Copenhagen for Friday was put at 0.5 million. The rounder the number, the bigger the guess but it did feel like a sizeable share of the whole country came out to see the show. All that was missing was the wind and some more sport but at least the Tour returns to France without a single DNF.

Don’t Doubt Thomas
You can see why people are chuckling at Geraint Thomas for riding the time trial in his skinsuit… and a gilet. He even put out an emergency podcast to explain and laugh about it, even if he was kicking himself as well. The previous day he’d even had his skinsuit adjusted with needle and thread to fit better. What this cost him in time isn’t know, the aero factor, but also overheating, weight and the sheer distraction of it all. So he might have the last laugh yet.

Tune In
Unusually the Giro Donne had their rest day on a Sunday, when you’d think TV ratings would be a hit… but it means they can get plenty of attention today, see RAI or Eurosport/GCN. There’s also the Sibiu Tour in Romania and the decisive summit finish and a livestream at the race website. It matters more this year given Lotto-Soudal, Israel and Cofidis have sent teams, presumably to hunt UCI ranking points.

Nul points
There won’t be a UCI World Tour promotion/relegation update tomorrow as there aren’t any points to compute. The Tour de France points get added up (and points deducted for littering etc) only once the race is done. Groenewegen’s stage win yesterday helped, 120 points.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jc Monday, 4 July 2022, 11:15 am

    Perhaps when the race reaches France something might actually “happen” like the small French teams making the effort to get in the break!

    Am I imagining things or has the level of casual “littering” returned to as it was before the UCI “crackdown”?

    • Greg Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 12:50 am

      Don’t think you’re imaging things. While watching recent races I often thought either there are really many litter zones these days or some guys didn’t get memo at all.
      There were 11 fines each 500 Swiss Francs in stage 2 and 3 alone. I’m pretty sure there were more incidents where just nobody could be identified.

    • Flávio Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 1:28 am

      The UCI backtracking of the littering fines was so disappointing, like riders really want to just throw trash everywhere, and they used give bidon to kids bullshit excuse to remove non bottle related fines and consequences for littering.

      It was super disappointed seeing the lack of care, and the fact that was one of the few things riders organized to change. Talk about priorities.

  • Anonymous Monday, 4 July 2022, 11:27 am

    I heard someone suggesting that G’s gilet cost him 40 seconds – I’m glad Dan Bigham is checking the real impact. Be that as it may, being fourth fastest over the second half of the course in about the worst conditions might actually mean people stop going on about his bike handling skills.

    • hoh Monday, 4 July 2022, 3:33 pm

      When he can beat Sagan on his prime on cobble, you know G doesn’t have a bike handling issue.

      He does have a luck issue, arguably not as bad as Landa (who had been taken out by a cow).

  • 150 Watts Monday, 4 July 2022, 11:35 am

    I had my wish granted last night with a win for Groenewegen/BikeExchange and it should be a confidence builder for both.
    With that out of the way I would have to say it looks as though Sagan has his mojo back. Not the fastest perhaps but it looks as though he will be contesting all the way.

    • Ecky Thump Monday, 4 July 2022, 12:03 pm

      Yes, agreed.
      By his own admission, Groenewegen has suffered mentally over the issue whilst Jakobsen has obviously had both that and physical hurt to overcome.
      It’s not yet totally over by the sounds of it but good that the actual sporting side can offer some redemption to both.

      And Sagan is looking pretty good, he’s a master at getting around the sprint trains.
      Perhaps the Jakobsen incident has served to temper the aggression between riders around the sprint, there’s been a couple of niggles but the riders have pulled away from going OTT?

  • KevinK Monday, 4 July 2022, 11:44 am

    I’m surprised in the discussion of WvA in green there’s no mention that he very well could have (and I think should have) been relegated for his deviation, which would have cost him 47 points and thrown a few points back to Jakobsen and Sagan. It seems even more evidence that for the UCI, sprint relegations are all about who does the deviating and whether or not there’s an actual crash and not just endangerment.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 4 July 2022, 11:48 am

      Sagan was upset with Van Aert at first when interviewed right after the finish but then reviewed the sprint on French TV and said on reflection that he didn’t think the sprint was bad.

      • Larry T Monday, 4 July 2022, 1:18 pm

        +1 Sagan knows better than to make a big stink..but he’ll exact some sort of revenge soon enough I’d guess?

      • Tobsen Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:00 pm

        WvA did move to the right and did not change his line for a second time. In addition he always has been in front of Sagan. I guess “that’s bike racing” is all everybody involved has to agree on.

        • Chuck M. Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 6:05 am

          Overhead video is what I think should be required. Drones are becoming commonplace in sport so it wouldn’t require a chopper. Video the final 3km from above. I’m looking at the Sagan incident (the latest) and can’t tell from front-on where GvA is, fore or aft of Sagan.

      • Peter Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:33 pm

        Have there been suggestions for striping the final 200m with sprint lanes?
        Maybe an out of bounds a meter wide along the fence?

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 4 July 2022, 10:57 pm

          Doesn’t work for me. Imagine if the wind is blowing from a particular direction or the final straight… isn’t straight. I can see where the idea is coming from, it’s to make a sprint as a straight contest, it’s a nice idea but it wouldn’t solve much in practice. Yes the leader might not be able to deviate but what of all the others behind, can they change lanes? Surely they have to in order to overtake but can they duck from wheel to wheel or not?

    • JR Monday, 4 July 2022, 12:09 pm

      Chris Horner, on his butterfly effect you tube channel, asserted that WvA should have been relegated for moving from the center of the road to the right, thereby cutting off Sagan and Ewan. Gotta say I agree with view that WvA should have been relegated. WvA had started his sprint in the center, and once having started his sprint should have maintained his line. Relegating WvA would send a clear message. As Horner noted, Groenewegen must be wondering why he was suspended and the other sprinters can only come to the view that deviating from one’s line after having started one’s spring is ok. Time for the UCI to step up.

      • Wayne Monday, 4 July 2022, 12:19 pm

        The frustrating thing about all this is that the UCI/ASO only seem to take action if a rider is hurt. With all the camera tech available now it must be quite easy to judge if a rider has deviated or not.

      • KevinK Monday, 4 July 2022, 12:59 pm

        Lanterne Rouge also concluded that WvA should be relegated. The inconsistency with which the sprint rule is enforced can only encourage riders to go for the win first and worry about relegation second, and so I think we’ll continue to see nasty and unnecessary crashes in group sprints. The cost/benefit analysis is simply too weighted towards rewarding a sprinter who deviates to block riders trying to pass.

        • Anonymous Monday, 4 July 2022, 7:30 pm

          There’s inconsistency and inconsistency. How about the inconsistency of fans only ever wanting relegation for those who allegedly deviate and allegedly cause endangerment (I don’t think either applied in this case) when they win or place in the sprint? When does anybody ever moan about the rider who finished twelfth nearly putting the one who finished 24th into the fence? Why does deviation and endangerment and the resultant outrage never apply to the also-rans?

          Horner and Lanterne Rouge and the fans to whom they are pandering might want to be careful what they wish for as mass relegations would ensue if their strictures ever were applied consistently and sprinting would be emasculated. Then again, some people still trot out the nonsense about painting lines on the road in a sport which is so reliant on drafting.

          • KevinK Monday, 4 July 2022, 8:32 pm

            Your argument is classic “whataboutism.” The fact that people are complaining about a lack of relegation in this case doesn’t mean that no one cares about the lack of relegation in other cases. To answer your question, the main reason the deviation/endangerment of also-rans doesn’t tend to elicit widespread outrage is because those cases are rarely noticed (the overhead replay generally only shows the first few riders, for example). That said, I can think of multiple times I’ve seen people comment on dangerous riding that didn’t include podium finishers, but it tends not to elicit much discussion unless it involves a star rider, in the same way that a hard/dirty foul by a second stringer on another second stringer in an NBA basketball game between two losing teams won’t get the same response as the same kind of foul involving a couple of stars in a championship game.

            Your characterization of Horner and Lanterne Rouge as “pandering” indicates to me that you don’t watch their programming.

      • Chuffy Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:03 pm

        I was wondering about this. I get the impression that Groenewegen is a still bit of a pariah within the peloton. I know the Jakobsen incident resulted in horrific injuries, but surely the accident itself was no worse than any number of crashes over recent years – Sagan and Cavendish in 2017 springs to mind. Is there a reason why this one is still festering or is it just my imagination?

        • KevinK Monday, 4 July 2022, 8:40 pm

          Jakobsen suffered near-fatal injuries, brain and lung contusions, and had to have his face reconstructed. Cav suffered a fractured scapula trying to squeeze through a gap that didn’t exist. The two crashes are in no way similar. Did you miss the stories from when it was unclear if Jakobsen would live, or when it was unclear if he would have the mental and/or physical capacity to ride a bike at all?

          • Fra Monday, 4 July 2022, 9:41 pm

            That’s true, but Groenevegen should’t be solely blamed for the outcome – the downhill sprint led to extreme speed and the road was probably imperfectly secured. Plus, the danger of road cycling race is well known, with some fatalities and other harmful incidents over the years. Of course, the rules are one of key safety measures, but still, it is an extreme sport and a minor mistake can easily lead to major damage.

          • Sephi Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 7:07 am

            I can do the physics again like I did back then, Groenewegen is responsible for dropping jacobsen, the unsafe finish, lacking padding is responsible for the horrible outcome of that said crash. Cavendish his crash ended so “well” only because there was good padding and this limited his crash mostly to a 1.4m drop to the ground and shaving of skin instead of an instant stop against a finish post due to failing fences. Had the fences stayed stiff in Poland Jacobsen wouldve been suffering a broker collarbone and road rash most likely.

            So causing the crash was Groenewegen, causing the severe damage was the way below safety of a high speed finish. Dont put the blame of the severity on Groenewegen imo.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 7:57 am

            The way the incidence occurred was not unheard of. The results of the incident was compounded by inferior barriers and course design.

          • KevinK Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 9:39 am

            @Fra – What I wrote was that the two crashes (Sagan/Cav 2017 and Groenevegen/Jakobsen) were not comparable. In the first, Cavendish tried to squeeze into a gap that didn’t exist, and it’s not at all apparent that Sagan was aware Cavendish was there until they made contact, since Cavendish was behind Sagan’s field of view. Cavendish didn’t back off when it was clear he had no where to go. In stage 3 of this year’s TdF, the same thing would have happened to Ewan if he hadn’t touched the brakes when WvA was taking Sagan to the barriers.
            In Poland, Groenevegen took Jakobsen into the barriers when Jakobsen was beside him and he knew Jakobsen was there.

            In case it’s not clear, I think dangerous sprint deviations that violate the UCI rules should be sanctioned and regularly penalized, regardless of whether a crash nearly happens or does happen, and regardless of the extent of the crashed rider’s injuries. But that is a separate issue from how Groenevegen is seen within the peloton, which is what Chuffy was referring to. That’s an emotional/subjective issue, not a matter of the rules.

        • MaxxLuft Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 4:51 am

          From what I’ve read, Groenewegen has never been known as a particularly fair sprinter. There are examples from other races where he deviates in an exaggerated manner in order to ‘close the door’. If what WvA did to execute that move in Stage 3 is right on the line, some of DG’s sprints have clearly crossed it. Watching the TdP crash again, DG deviates excessively and then leans into Jakobsen, first closing off his lane and then knocking him through the barriers. It was a completely irresponsible act that illustrated a clear disregard for DG’s competitors. Then you have Jakobsen;s injuries, which were horrific. Finally, DG spoke publicly about a private meeting between him and Jakobsen in a way that seemed to seek to suggest that things between the two riders were now ok only to have Jakobsen contradict those points while noting that the riders had agreed not to speak publicly about the meeting. When one considersit all together, I think one can see why this crash has tended to linger in the collective mind longer than most others.

          • Sephi Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 7:09 am

            I know only 2 other cases for Groenewegen with bad sprinting, I can easily find a similar amount for any sprinter. Can you back up that statistic with more than 5 examples of bad sprinting by Groenewegen? Because to be fair, Ewan, Bennet, Cavendish and for sure Sagan&Bouhanni make more crazy moves and bumps/headbutts at dangeours points.

          • KevinK Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 9:52 am

            I agree with Sephi that all sprinters do things that can be questioned and that frequently come close to violating the UCI rules. I think Sagan has gotten a bad reputation in the last few years in part from a backlash about the Cavendish crash – before that crash he was widely admired for his ability to protect his position and navigate in traffic safely. I see Kristoff doing a lot of similar shouldering and pushing riders away from the wheel he wants, but I never see it called out because Kristoff is a popular rider and he does it in a way that also rarely causes an actual crash. And I think this kind of shouldering is not called out within the peloton because the top sprinters know that the kind of argy-bargy that Sagan and Kristoff (and many others) do is part of the game. What I think is more dangerous is the deviations that are intended to impair other riders, which some sprinters are prone to doing (as well as some leadout men like Morkov).

            People are making the point with WvA that his move was “gradual” and so it wasn’t dangerous, but that’s nonsense. He grossly deviated from his lane, he impaired multiple riders, Sagan had to make contact to avoid the barriers, Ewan had to hit the brakes, and the methodical nature of the deviation tells me it was intentional as he’s a very controlled sprinter with excellent bike handling.

      • Sephi Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 7:03 am

        Horner has over the years shown a clear negative bias towards Jumbo Visma, the reasons I can only guess.
        If you take this particular sprint and argue that the slow deviation to the left of van Aert was too much, then please have a look at Jacobsen who swipes left in a split second crossing half the road at the end and hindering others, strongly hindering the lotto rider. (3:37 in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj2BnmEPvpk)
        Jacobsen, after his crash has been causing several dangerous sprint situations with bumping and deviations. Yet you never hear Horner on this.

        Key issue is that UCI should maintain these regulations regardless of winner or somewhere else in the top 10. See stage 2 for example with the TREK lead out at 4:28 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V-feb_tJLY clearly blocking the door for Jumbo visma.
        (could argue that Jacobsen his line switch was too close to sagan, but could also say there was enough space)

        So points being: 1) dont only judge the front man but relegate others as well 2) I never hear Horner about other teams in the way he treats Jumbo visma, 3) Jacobsen aint no saint after his crash.

        • KevinK Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 10:09 am

          Agree with point one, and would add that the relegations need to happen to stars and race leaders as much as to lesser riders or riders with reputations. On point two, I’ve been watching Horner’s videos since he started them, and I see no anti-JV bias. In fact he really admires Roglic and WvA. What I see is that he loves to savage bad GC tactics, and I’ve seen him rip UAE, Movistar, Bora, and others when the do things he considers stupid.

          On point three, a better point would be “there are no saints among successful sprinters.” Sprinting is a little like boxing or American football (note I wrote “a little”) in the sense that it’s inherently dangerous and risky and cannot be sanitized, but in all those sports there are clear lines that shouldn’t be crossed because they increase that risk and danger too much. And in all those sports when rules are applied inconsistently, the sport and often the athletes suffer.

    • jc Monday, 4 July 2022, 12:24 pm

      If there had been a crash then no doubt the commissionaires would have taken a different view. There is always going to be an element of judgement for this and some will never agree (throwing Peter Sagan out of the race after the Cav crash). How much of this is conscious tactics on the part of the riders and how much simply split second instinct is never possible to know. Clearly the presence of both Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen in the sprints adds to the difficulty of any decision. Surely blocking other riders is part of the skill of sprinting?

      • Ecky Thump Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:40 pm

        The outcome of harm has to affect the commissaires’ decision though, surely?
        In a similar way if two cars collide and there’s no injury, the Police won’t usually get involved but if someone is seriously hurt, then charges will follow.

        • Davesta Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:36 pm

          It makes sense that the degree of punishment is linked to the amount of harm done – or at least, that would be consistent with the way the law & sentencing is applied in most western countries.
          However, the problem here is surely that the offence isn’t even identified unless harm has been done?
          I’m a big fan of WvA, and his sprinting is normally quite noticeable in its straightness! But yesterday’s sprint was naughty – a clear and significant deviation, and just as bad as we’ve seen from others in the past who have been DQ’d/relegated. Whether it warrants full on relegation or just, say docking him 10 points, I’m not sure. But it’s frustrating that it’s not even identified by the commissaires unless somebody loses some skin.

          • Davesta Monday, 4 July 2022, 8:32 pm

            I was thinking again about Van Aert’s sprint (because, what else do you think about on the turbo?) and I recall there was a crosswind from the left on the finishing straight. So likely he wanted to sprint along the right hand barriers to prevent anybody taking advantage of the draft and coming around him. Still naughty to deviate so much though…

        • Peter Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:38 pm

          But in that view you’re just waiting for serious injury while not proactively addressing the risk.
          And police do give tickets for driving violations even without accidents.

          • KevinK Monday, 4 July 2022, 8:45 pm

            I think a better example than a driving violation (which in virtually all cases only deserves a ticket) is driving drunk. Most of the time the drunk driver causes no harm, but the potential for massive harm is great enough that the penalty, even with no traffic accident and only the minimum illegal BAL, is rather severe. No one says, “well, as long as you rarely drive drunk and you really really mean no harm, we’ll ignore it.”

          • Fra Monday, 4 July 2022, 9:35 pm

            KevinK – good point, but isn’t speeding perhaps even better example? (Esp. In sprinting context…)

            While my personal take on speed limits is rather liberal, speeding can be a serious violation of the traffic order and although often nothing happens, often because other drivers adapt their driving to the aggressive driver’s speed / behavior, the harm speeding can cause may easily be huge, if the worst happens. I’d say that while sprinting line deviation such as the one discussed can cause no harm – because other sprinters adapt accordingly, which can severely hamper their chances – the risk (of escalation) is too big to let it be, and therefore the rule should be interpreted less liberaly.

            * In my country, speeding is (one of) the primary cause of trafic accidents and our roads are more dangerous than european average, if I am not mistaken – perhaps because driving 20-30 kmph above limit is the standard here. (For people of some other countries, e. g. Scandinavian, the danger of speeding may seem bit more exotic, perhaps?) *

          • KevinK Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 10:15 am

            @Fra, no I don’t think speeding is a better analogy. On many roads the majority of drivers are speeding at any given time, and traffic studies indicate that it’s not speeding per se that is dangerous, but the speed differential between different vehicles, so if everyone is speeding (as on the Autobahn) it’s less dangerous then if a few cars are speeding and weaving in and out of traffic looking for open lanes. And drunk driving is the number one cause of traffic fatalities, not speeding. The number one cause of accidents is also not speeding, but driver error.

          • Fra Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 10:56 am

            Here in Czechia speeding is nr1 because it is involved in just about any crash, notwithstanding whether it was the resl cause or not. But that’s not important. What I wanted to stress was that here WvA’s move didn’t led to a crash because Sagan and Ewan adjusted their speed while hindering their chances, and therefore WvA’s actions remained without consequence, but it was still potentialy dangerous. Which is what you state above, anyway. 🙂

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 4 July 2022, 10:59 pm

          The other factor is rider complaints. Sagan was upset in the moment but saw the replay on TV and his team didn’t file a complaint as a result. Team manager J-R Bernaudeau said it was tight but not wild, to paraphrase rather than direct quote/translate.

          I could be wrong but if there’s a jury of international commissaires on one side and some youtubers on the other, I know who has the greater experience, even if Chris Horner has a keen eye. The only issue with the UCI jury is that they almost never explain their thinking, nobody comes to say “we saw this and thought that” and so on which would help everyone from fans to sprinters appreciate where the limits are.

          • 150 Watts Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 4:19 am

            I have just replayed this a few times and the only thing that crossed my mind was the fact that the barriers are less than perfectly aligned … a bit wavy. This makes it difficult for the rider on the barriers.
            Barriers were also a talking point in the Jacobsen incident. Perhaps they need perspex like squash courts so everyone can see and the riders can bounce off them a bit!

          • KevinK Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 10:41 am

            I read in several news accounts that in fact Sagan’s DS or someone with the team did indeed file a complaint against WvA and that the commissaires rejected it. Was that a false report?

            As far as the experience of international commissaires, I would love to know who they are and what their actual experience and expertise is. I’ve seen some horrific crashes as the result of what seemed clear rules violations that went unpunished, to the point that it seems the commissaires avoid enforcing these rules as often as possible, unless the target of the regulation is an easy target. Perhaps the worst case I recall was a few years ago in a minor French stage race, which had a dangerous finish on a curve. The two lead riders came into the curve together, with the leading rider about a wheel ahead and tightly on the inside of the curve (i.e., the shortest line ot the finish, so ideal positioning). However, the second rider started to pass on the outside, within sight of the finish, and the lead rider took him all the way to the barriers in a massive deviation. Then, when the competitor leaned back against him to avoid the barriers, the leader hip checked him decisively into the barriers. He crashed hard, stopping almost instantly, and lay limp right at the finish line. The commentators didn’t know how to react as it appeared the rider may have been killed, and was certainly unconscious. To give an idea of how much of a deviation it was, there were three riders sprinting immediately behind the front two, and they came through the curve three-abreast at virtually the same speed as the leader, but had no problem maintaining their lanes. The outside rider of the three didn’t get close to the barrier as they sprinted for third place.

            The commissaires took an extraordinary amount of time to declare the winner, and only did so after the crashed rider regained consciousness and it was confirmed that he only had broken bones and a concussion. Their decision? There was no relegation. Why? The leader of the race, and the winner of the stage, was Christophe LaPorte, who was by far the biggest star in the race. The crashed rider was a young nobody on a Conti team who had never won a race as I recall. In the post race interview, before the result was announced, LaPorte anxiously claimed he’d only been taking the shortest line to the finish, when obviously he’s taken the longest line possible. He looked like a guy who was watching his life, or at least his career, flashing before his eyes as he waited to find out if his slamming the door on this other rider would result in Jakobsen-like injuries. There’s no doubt in my mind that if the rider identities had been reversed, the lesser rider would have been DQ’d and had his reputation ruined. But this was LaPorte, it was a French race, and the news stories in the cycling press simply reported that he’d had a triumph of winning multiple stages and the GC in this small race. I don’t think the crash was even mentioned in the news articles. This is one example of why I’m extremely cynical about the commissaires in most cases.

    • Sephi Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 7:04 am

      Might as well relegate Jacobsen in that case for swiping from one side to the middle and hindering the lotto sprinter. Rewatch the sprint and dont only focus on the front guy.

  • Ecky Thump Monday, 4 July 2022, 1:24 pm
    • noel Monday, 4 July 2022, 3:13 pm

      oh nice! cheers Ecky

      • Ecky Thump Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:36 pm

        House band at Stax Records was Booker T & The MGs as often as not!
        Amazing 😎

        • Stevie P Monday, 4 July 2022, 6:27 pm

          “It’s 900km to Calais, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of energy gels, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses….hit it”

  • weeclarky Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:37 pm

    I think GT’s time trial was indicative that he really is on it, I think in the second half he was as fast as Pog, and he had about the worst conditions — people are underestimating him. [Lance A’s podcast was slagging people off for calling him a contender!]

    • Fra Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:42 pm

      Mountains will tell. I suppose he won’t be able to climb with the best, but for the time being he surely is a contender and no opponent would underestimate him.

    • Larry T Monday, 4 July 2022, 2:58 pm

      I will never understand why anyone cares what BigTex and his friends/followers think. But the 45th President of the USA has lots of followers too, despite his own record as a liar/sack of dung, so?
      The two are more alike than different now that I think about it…narcissistic sociopaths I think they are called.

      • Gelato4bahamontes Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:48 pm

        An American once told me that when LA retired he would go into politics and end up as POTUS.

        • Larry T Monday, 4 July 2022, 5:32 pm

          There was a time I would have said NFW…but that time passed when #45 somehow was elected. Just one of many reasons I got the hell outta there! I have to go back next month for a family wedding…need to pack a box of N95 masks and a flak-jacket!!!

    • Cycling Nut Monday, 4 July 2022, 4:57 pm

      I think GT will fade in the last week. Too old.

  • Rob MD Monday, 4 July 2022, 5:05 pm

    No DNF or DNS after 3 stages is a blessing, but there’s a few who’ve had rough nights going by the amount of gauze, band-aids etc on display. GC wise, no great disasters – Rigoberto at 2 mins seems worse off. Will the Cort Show continue as other “interested parties” for the breakaway seem thin on the ground? I just hope this Jakobsen/Groenewegen ongoing saga has a happy ending.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 4 July 2022, 10:52 pm

      Pogačar included for the rough nights, his hand is bandaged at the moment.

  • Fra Monday, 4 July 2022, 9:49 pm

    Sorry for off topic, but… : Inrng, you often mention bandwidth… isn’t there a way to help you with running and maintenance costs of the blog? I suppose your regular readers would appreaciate an opportunity to contribute at least a small amount.

    • David Monday, 4 July 2022, 10:11 pm

      Agreed – would hate this to go the way of Steephill.tv

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 4 July 2022, 10:48 pm

      I’ve been looking into this but the irony is time spent on the admin side of thing is time spent not actually doing a blog post or a recon ride for a race route so it’s less interesting, happens less. We’ll see, this blog is not here to get clicks and provoke outrage online – that’d be too easy – but it does have its costs. Watch this space.

    • Nick Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 1:15 am

      Agreed – I would definitely donate if I could!